until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Marquez's 'deja vu' Gresini Ducati livery sends a message

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

When the covers finally came off the 2024 Gresini Ducati that six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will ride this season, the unveiled colour scheme was a bit of a shock to some.

And it wasn't because it was a radical departure - quite the contrary. Marquez will campaign a virtually identical colour scheme to the one Gresini had last season with Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marc’s little brother Alex onboard the bike.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

Despite the arrival of a MotoGP legend, there was no slew of new sponsors rushing to join the Italian family-run team just because it has signed Marquez. And when you read between the lines, that news sends perhaps the clearest signal yet that the Spaniard’s long-term future lies not with Gresini but back on factory machinery in 2025.

It’s been no secret that the shock move away from Repsol Honda (despite having a year left on his contract) and onto the Gresini bike is something of a stopgap as Marquez looked to flee an RC213V that was only not slow when it was seemingly actively trying to kill him.

As Marquez himself put it during the launch: "Of course the easy way was to stay at Honda - less pressure to myself, more money in my bank account."

Marc Marquez, Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

The nature of his pivot - a late exit from under an existing 2024 deal - might be part of the reason why the Gresini bike still very much looks the same as it did in 2023. Its own deals were likely inked already for the upcoming season, even before the possibility of bringing in Marquez appeared on the horizon.

But there’s a bigger-explanation for why the likes of Marquez's long-term sponsors Red Bull or Repsol aren’t mentioned anywhere, and why Spanish beer company Estrella Galicia (which joined the team last season with Alex) doesn’t now have a bigger presence on the machine.

Speaking to The Race at the launch, the team’s veteran commercial director Carlo Merlini was frank in his assertion that the last thing Gresini wants to do is sabotage long-standing relationships with sponsors to cash in for a single season.

"I saw in the web lots of pictures [livery concepts] primarily with Red Bull... but there was never a real discussion with them.

Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

"Instead, we didn't want to lose our, let me say, identity. We didn't want to make any radical changes just because Marc is coming, and then maybe when he leaves... our primary concern and focus was to maintain existing sponsors.

"We have a few more joining the family, but overall we're happy with the sponsors we have. The team is very, very well-established from a financial perspective."

Even without new, Marc Marquez-specific sponsors, his presence will undoubtedly have a positive impact on that "financial perspective".

Gresini will sell more hospitality packages, it will (presumably) receive more support from Ducati should he start winning right away, and with the team capturing him for an ultra-low price, it means that its wage bill is unlikely to have increased in the transition from Di Giannantonio to Marquez.

Gresini Ducati, MotoGP

And while the suggestion that Marquez might be off to pastures new for 2025 is for now just that, a suggestion, it’s worth noting that even Marquez himself couldn’t resist the opportunity at his new team’s launch to hint that his own long-term aspirations is to reunite with Honda at some point.

With his now-former employer having made a radically different bike available in the post-season test for Joan Mir and Marquez's replacement Luca Marini, things look to be on the mend - and that could be enough for Marquez’s Honda hiatus to be shorter than anyone ever expected.

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